FAMILIES struggling to eat now have access to fresh milk, cheese and more, thanks to donations of more than £12,000.

Local food bank Pembrokeshire Action To Combat Hardship (PATCH) has taken delivery of a new van, which will enable volunteers to pick up donations of food from local supermarkets.

The van was paid for thanks to donations of £5,000 from Milford Haven Town Council and the Bluestone Foundation, £2,000 from South Hook LNG, and £200 from Haverfordwest Town Council.

Bearing a bold logo and the charity's new slogan 'fighting hunger and hardship in Pembrokeshire', it replaces PATCH's leaky former vehicle, which will be retired after Christmas.

In its first two weeks, the new van has already travelled more than 600 miles, picking up supplies that will be sorted and passed to families in need.

Tracy Olin, PATCH co-ordinator, said: "We're extremely grateful."

"Milford Haven is where the most need is, and where the majority of our clients are from.

"Having the van will mean PATCH can now accept a wider range of donations, and will also mean less produce is thrown out by local supermarkets."

Cllr Colin Sharp, town mayor, said he was proud the council was able to support a local charity that does "such a good job" in Milford Haven and beyond.

"With Christmas round the corner, local families need more help now than ever," he added.

Said Debbie Rainbow of Bluestone Foundation: "A lot of our work force comes from Milford Haven, so it's nice to support something that is working hard in their community.

"When we saw PATCH's application for funding we knew it was something we had to back.

"So much effort goes in from the volunteers, and they are making such a big difference across the county."

Said Carol Lewis of South Hook LNG: "We help lots of causes via our community development fund through PAVS, but sadly we can't help everyone.

"But we wholeheartedly wanted to support this, PATCH is doing great work, and it's a pleasure to be able to support them in this way."